Words: Josie Taylor
I was intreigued by a recent debate on television that looked at the concept of parents seeking help verses lazy parenting. As a parenting coach, supporting families every day, I can see there are discussions to be had regarding both sides…
If a parent has tried what seems like every possible approach to parenting , they have read and googled tirelessly, and yet they are still struggling, they have every right to think that with all the information available to them things should be easier. In our society it seems we’re expected to do everything ourselves and there’s currently a shaming culture in asking for any additional help, be it teaching your child to ride a bike, nit removal, getting your child to sleep in their own bed all night, or getting them to stop sucking their thumb. And yet, for many parents, seeking the extra help is the last resort after trying many other avenues.
Becoming a parent is one of life’s biggest and most important challenges. It can be joyful and fulfilling, but it can also be overwhelming and exhausting. We all want our children to be happy, caring, confident and capable, the list goes on especially with today’s social media and adverts of “perfect” parenting, it can leave many of us feeling we`re not good or capable of being good enough.
For some parents, asking for additional help may make them feel they are admitting defeat, that they haven’t got this ‘all’ sorted, and that they have lost control. And yet many of the parents I see, that attend the ‘Positive Parenting Workshops with Josie’ are undoubtably some of the most wonderful parents possible, they only deeply care about their children and are trying their best.
There is so much on offer now to support family life, and we need to embrace this. As todays parents, we are much busier than previous generations, in many families both parents work, or while one parent works, the other has a huge responsibility of managing the family and home. But what has also emerged, are the amazing opportunities available to invest in your family life whatever that may be, from tutoring, to lessons and activities. Your babies didn’t come with a manual so you shouldn't feel quilty about wanting to seek the best advice possible. It’s interesting to know that many people browse the internet asking the same sort of parenting questions,
“My kids don’t listen.”
“My kids fight all the time.”
“Toddler tantrums are driving me mad.”
“All I do is shout and use punishments or bribes.”
Answering these questions and offering a supportive environment leaves parents feeling empowered and in turn their children too. Offering parenting tools and a real understanding of how to move forward allows families to know they are capable, and confident. This can sometimes be all that people need, a little reassurance, in whatever they are doing. After all, that is how I personally started on this whole journey when my first was 4 months old and I wanted to learn more, so I attended a Positive Discipline Workshop.
The debate went on to include the idea that parents turn to additional support avenues because they can’t be bothered to do it themselves. For example, paying hundreds of pounds for someone to potty train their child in 3 days – of course the parent is capable of doing this but for some the idea of toilet accidents is just too much to bare.
My opinion is that issues like this are what make parenting the challenging, and yet rewarding job it is. Surely not everything should be available without the parent first really trying, which I believe in most part parents do. Many parents resort to looking for additional help becuase they really have tried themselves tirelessly, some children really are terrible sleepers. But when is the right point to ask for help? When parents are exasperated and not being the parent they know they could be? Or before the issue get’s out of hand? The answer, is when it’s right for you.
On reflecting upon the debate, I have three children and can truly emphasise with real life and I want to enjoy my parenting journey as much as I can. Some days can be more challenging than others for sure. Making decisions with and for our children, supporting them, encouraging them is all consuming. Choosing to look to others for support (as long as it’s not solely relied on and overused) I think, is only a great choice.
People that shame and take the high ground are only putting unnecessary stress on themselves and others around them. We are all trying our best, and that’s good enough.
Enjoy them and yourselves, however you’re doing it!